The early origins of the Air Ambulance Service operated in Taranaki coincided with growth of the aerial topdressing Industry in the region. The development of numerous farm strips offered potential landing grounds in addition to the three main airfields, Hawera, Stratford and New Plymouth for Tiger Moths, Piper Cubs and eventually Cessna's. Using these strips for ambulance flights reduced the time between injury and treatment immensely for people living in rural Taranaki.
In 2006 The Taranaki Air Ambulance Trust was formed to provide a dedicated Air Ambulance service for the people of Taranaki. The Trust purchased a Piper Navajo Aircraft ZK-MJF in August 2011and obtained it's own Air Operating Certificate in October 2012.
In 2014, the trust built a hangar alongside it's offices on Puketapu Crescent at the New Plymouth Airport. In 2015, a replacement aircraft was purchased. The purchase of the Cessna 421 pressurised aircraft enables a better level of care for patients while being transferred, and more comfort for the nurses and pilots.
In 2015 the trust reviewed their operation and restructured to contract a separate operator to hold the Air Operating Certificate and manage the aircraft. SkyWest Aviation is the operator, who oversees all provision of the service, including employment of pilots and compliance with CAA requirements. A new trust manager was appointed to drive the strategy to deliver the best Air Ambulance Service for the people of Taranaki.
Below are the aircraft used in the provision of this service.
- 1958 Cessna 172 ZK-BVP
- 1962 Cessna 172 ZK-CCE
- 1963 Cessna 172 ZK-CDL
- 1968 Cessna 177 ZK-CTC
- 1972 Cessna 177 ZK-DFV
- 1975 Cherokee Six ZK-DIN
- 1979 Cessna 207 ZK-NPA
- 1991 Piper Seneca2 ZK-NPG
- 1993 Cessna Crusader 303 ZK-EXA
- 1996 Piper Navajo ZK-ECQ
- 2012 Piper Navajo ZK-MJF15
- 2015 Cessna 421C ZK-TAM